Understanding Gum Disease and How to Avoid it

Gum Disease: What it is and How to Prevent it

A good dental health routine is more than having pretty white teeth, it also means taking care of your gums. All too often people will lose a weakened tooth due to gum disease rather than tooth decay. To prevent gum disease, you'll need to know what it is and what causes it.

What is Gum Disease

Basically, gum disease is a periodontal disease that invades and infects the tissue and bone structure surrounding and supporting your teeth. There are two kinds of periodontal gum disease:

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Gingivitis

This is the milder form of gum disease. When plaque and tartar are not removed, your gums become red in color, are sensitive when chewing and talking, and they may become swollen and bleed easily. Gingivitis is reversible by adhering to a daily brushing and flossing routine and with regularly scheduled dental cleanings.

Periodontitis

This is a severe form of gum disease that cannot be reversed and is also called Pyorrhea. Periodontitis is a Greek word meaning inflammation around the tooth. This condition causes your gums to recede away from the teeth, leaving hollow spaces where infections can form and spread below your gum line. If left untreated, your bone structure and your supporting gum tissue are destroyed. Periodontitis can even loosen your teeth and they may have to be removed.

Cause of Gum Disease

The root cause of a gum problem is from the bacteria in your mouth continuously depositing a colorless, sticky substance called plaque on your teeth. Most plaque is removed by having a good daily tooth care routine. If not removed, plaque hardens into tartar that can only be removed by a dentist.

If a deep cleaning is required, you may be referred to a periodontist. Laser is a modern technology used to remove plaque and tartar. But, the good news is that there are a number of ways to prevent the formation of gum disease.

Preventing Gum Disease

Most individuals think that gum disease is an adult problem, but anyone with gums (which is everyone) can be affected. Caring for your gums is an easy, lifelong responsibility. Here is a short checklist:

  1. Brush with fluoride toothpaste twice a day, once in the morning and again before bedtime
  2. Floss every time you brush
  3. Use a dentist recommended mouth wash to control mouth bacteria
  4. Maintain regular dental cleanings and checkups
  5. Avoid sugary drinks and tobacco products

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